By A.J. von Massenhausen '14
With freshman All-American honors already on his resume, Kyle DeMerritt (KD) is excited and ready about his sophomore year on the diamond. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) had a chance to sit down with the spunky third baseman and talk about his successful freshman year, new head coach Dan O'Brien and the future of the Broncos' baseball program.
(SCB): Kyle, after a solid first year you were named to the WCC All-Freshman team as well as the Louisville Slugger's Freshman All-American team. Looking back, how were you able to come in and contribute right away?
(KD): During last fall I quickly realized that the game was being played at a much faster pace and there was a lot more to deal with. So for me, the key to playing at the D1 college level after high school was to slow the game down and keep everything as simple as possible. Thus, my biggest improvements were made in the mental game which allowed me to stay more consistent and stay focused on the field.
(SCB): You spent your summer playing for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in Wausau, Wisc. Talk about the unique experience of playing in the extremely competitive Northwoods League.
(KD): Summer ball plain and simple is a blast. I was given the opportunity to play out of state for two and a half months against players from all around the country. We get fed and housed and our job is to play baseball every day... it doesn't get much better. However, we play 70 games in 75 days which was a grind that really humbled me and allowed me to realize what the next level (professional ball) is all about. On the baseball side I had both success and failures and the competition I faced really helped me mature as a ball player. Lastly, I was fortunate to have an amazing host family and stay in a town where our team was highly regarded. It was awesome playing for the people out there.
(SCB): After a rough season last year, what is new head coach Dan O'Brien doing to put Santa Clara baseball back on a winning track?
(KD): Coach O'Brien has already made an enormous impact on the team and more importantly the program as a whole. He brings to the table a coaching style that is extremely unique and his passion for the game has brought a new atmosphere to our team that I am really excited about. Every college team in the nation works hard and practices almost every day. However, Coach O'Brien challenges us with so much more. We practice the mental side of the game and having the right mindset both on and off the field. I've always believed the best coaches are the ones you want to put everything on the line for and O'Brien epitomizes this role.
(SCB): Does the team have any specific goals for this year as the season approaches?
(KD): With a new coaching staff and all the new players our first goal has been to come together and gel as a team, not just a bunch of individuals playing baseball. This means that we are all on the same page every day and we are able to have fun while also holding each other accountable. Moreover, besides team chemistry, all we are thinking about is dog piling after winning a league championship. It starts first with winning the WCC and ends with every baseball players dream, going to Omaha.
(SCB): With fall intra-squad play over, what are you doing individually to get ready for the season?
(KD): With the fall over we now have almost a month off where we don't meet or practice as a team, so my current focus is to come back prepared. I've had my share of injuries over the past year and a half so my goal is to come back healthy and ready to play full speed. On top of that we have specified workouts and drills to do every day. Lastly, I am enjoying every minute of my college baseball career and making sure I have no regrets.